Bars and flairs

07/03/2016 § Leave a comment

So, every now and then, one of my friends would invite me out, if my schedule happens to fit her off day. It’s not scheduled every week, just every now and then. She might have this idea that I’m good to drag along to discover some new place, because apparently that seems to be the case. I’m not against the idea. I’m actually all in for it. All you have to do is tell me, “Hey, wanna go to this place blah blah blah?” If it’s something I’ve never heard of, then I’m always in.

Recently, it has been bars that we visit and she’s always the one to find the place. I’m more of the person who get her there without being lost. I know I’ve been around Singapore because of my thirst for something new, for cafes mostly, and my sense of direction is pretty good too. I’ve tried hunting for bars before, but because it is pricier, and not exactly some place to go on your own, I stopped it. But here we are, bar-hunting for some unconventionally-themed bars. We have been to two so far, and I find them really interesting. I never really thought that Singapore will have these bars with flairs.

The Library
It’s the speakeasy kind of bar, which honestly is pretty difficult to locate, because it doesn’t look like a bar from the outside. There is literally no indication that you are in the right place…unless you ask the person who seems to be bumming at the entry hall. And if you ever find the bar, you will need a password to be granted entry. Which is not very difficult as the person will tell you that it could be found at a certain Facebook page and you just have to take a wild guess at what it was. A clue might be given too, if you’re lucky.

And after all the formalities is done, you will have to enter through another small room full of mirrors before finally getting to the main bar area. And it’s all worth it. The place is not very big but it is pretty spacious. The place makes me think of Harry Potter and the potion lab (They have a casserole to make or cook your drink!). It feels like it’s performing some black magic thing too, like a place that shouldn’t be known. If this is the old times, you’d only probably hear about it, though reluctantly, from under the table. Which is probably the concept, actually, with it being hidden and the password-access. And I like the idea.

I like to sit in the bar area because I like watching how they work behind counters, so we opted for that. And I was very glad we did too. I did not really expect all the flair the bartenders have while making the drinks. Okay, so no flipping or spinning of bottles, but the art of bartending is definitely on full show here. And besides the creation of  the drink, the presentation is also pretty amazing.

We were first time customers and we exactly don’t know what’s good to drink but there’s always the option of going through the menu one by one, and asking the staff for recommendations. Which we both did. I still opted for the one that caught my fancy in the menu even after asking the staff. How does a popcorn-infused bourbon and toffee apple sound? I ordered Silver Screen and completely ignored that it was in the “strong and dangerous” category, which I would normally go away from, because how could popcorn and toffee apple flavors taste so bad? Well, I’m pretty wrong on that. It was really strong, but I’m happy because it was served with a small cup of popcorn. And it didn’t taste so bad too. My friend ordered Holy Smoke for her first drink, which is a creamy rum-based drink, served with cigar for presentation. And it looked really cool!

For our second drink, while she opted for a wine of some sort, I order the same one I saw being made and served to a nearby customer seated in the counter. It’s named Hipnotique , and an absinthe-based drink. I ordered because of the presentation more than anything, because of the dry ice with liquid causing some smoke. But the drink itself wasn’t so bad, it was actually better than my first order in a sense that the alcohol is not so strong and I can enjoy the drink better. I’m just pretty concerned about the blue glitters atop my drink. I know it’s probably edible but it’s just weird, and I did not even dare touch it at all.

Price range is between 22 to 25Sgd.

And because of the concept, I’ll leave the location details unknown here. Google it up though, you’ll definitely find something.

Hopscotch
So my friend told me they have Singapore-inspired drinks, and they really do. They actually have a comics of their drinks which is about the adventures of Momotaro though in a more mature plot (It’s in volume 3!), because duh, it’s a bar. I actually finished reading the entire story before placing an order. Which took some time because I read the drink contents while going thru the story.

My first order is  Marsh and Malt, which is like a milkshake with alcohol. It’s more of a dessert than a drink. It comes with vanilla ice cream, toffee and caramel, horlicks, and rum. It’s pre-made so the bartender did not take long making it and not much flair on it, but I like it. It’s sweet and you can only taste a little bit of the alcohol after mixing it properly. So if you’re not really one for drinks with a strong taste of the alcohol, then this is for you. It’s a different story if you don’t like sweet stuff though.

My friend ordered the Thyme me up and Pep me down, which consist of Shitake infused gin (interesting), garlic (I know…), thyme (duh, obviously!), and red peppercorn (seriously). There are other things mixed together in the drink but I don’t deem them very interesting. So the drink is presented very nicely in a martini glass, and you wouldn’t probably think anything of it. That is until you took a sip. It was an explosion of flavors, number one being the garlic. Honestly, it is a good drink, though on the stronger side.

For her next drink, she ordered Eating Air (Jiak Hong), which turned out to be a sorbet made with dry ice, topped with berry-flavored froth. It is a tequila-based drink, and I want to highlight that ginger flower has been used in making this drink. I did not fail to emphasize to her how her drinks seem to contain of basic cooking spices, and that if she’s hungry, we could have gone to a proper restaurant instead. Jokes aside though, the sorbet part of the drink is pretty strong flavored, so the light, berry froth/foam/bubbles actually complements it. She even asked for more bubbles once it was finished, because the base is really strong. But it was an interesting and good drink.

I had The Jewel of Maxwell for my next order, because it was recommended. Apparently, it was pretty popular because it was once again pre-made. The base is gin, mixed with some fruit and flower flavors. It’s supposedly a ladies’ drink but I find it a little too strong for my liking. Maybe if it was served with ice to water it down, I might have liked it better? But anyway, it was served with lemon sorbet, which might be a little too sweet than acceptable for a lemon sorbet, but it worked just fine with the drink.

We got to talk a little with the staff since it was a Monday night and there aren’t much people in the bar. According to them, they try to base their drinks with something within Singapore and its culture. And from the comics/drink menu that they came up with, I could say they are doing a good job of it. I really wanna have a word with their mixologist, because he’s a genius! Who thought garlic and ginger and peppercorns would mix well with alcohol? If it didn’t at first, they made it work. And the end result is what matters.

Prices range between 22-25.

Address:
28 Maxwell Road
Red Dot Traffic Building

 

Small Kitchen Big Heart

13/02/2016 § Leave a comment

Brownie tart is not a foreign name to me, not when I love desserts, and my Tumblr feed is literally overflowing with photos of all the sweet desserts and pastries. And when I finally get my hands on one, I can’t stop my cravings for it.

The one that I have tried, and easily made me love it, is from Small Kitchen Big Heart. It was basically a shop that sells pastries online, though I am not sure if they own a physically bake shop as well. The catch: its base of operations is in Surabaya, Indonesia…across the sea, and about two hours by plane (I think!).

So how did I manage to come across this gem? I have a colleague who was from the city, and her friend actually owns the shop.  It was only recently opened, maybe a year or two. Whenever she returns to Singapore from her visits home, she never fails to bring some goodies for souvenirs. It was last year that she brought back those brownie tarts, and I was lucky to be on shift then, for I was able to try those heavenly treat. So when I learned that she’s visiting home again, I kept on repeating to her to buy some for me, and of  course she did. I’ll be so brokenhearted if she did not.

It was a simple tart, with brownie inside, and a piece of Hershey’s on top. I like the tart because it was not crumbling upon contact, and the brownie was baked just right. I was pretty particular with brownies, because most often than not, they are hard and dry. This one, however, is moist even after a day or two out of the oven, and soft. And you can taste the chocolate flavor too, and not only because of the literal chocolate piece on top. Bottom line, it was a good treat for me.

I have not tried any other brownie tarts so I really have no basis for comparison. But I can at least say that it’s worth a try. If you ever happen to be in the city, you could probably add it to your to-do-list’s. It would be ideal if you can place an order online to prevent all the delays and hassles, and to give yourself the chance to decide if you want more. Here’s the site, better check it out. Since it was hand-delivered to me by my colleague I have no idea about their arrangements, nor the cost. But it would all be definitely worth it.

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